Sunday, December 16, 2007

So long, tacky Santa

You might call it tacky. We certainly did -- and other things -- before we owned it. When we first saw the three-foot plastic, glowing Santa at a relative's house in Atlanta several years ago we mostly laughed at it. Who would put such a thing in front of their house?

But time passes, the relative passed away and somehow the tacky Santa came home to Charlotte with us. If we own it, we should display it I thought, and so up it went with the rest of the Christmas lights. This was tacky Santa’s third Christmas on our porch. Also, the last.

I’m not sure if the person who took Santa from our porch wanted to make a cultural statement or if he thought tacky Santa was valuable or what (I have a hard time identifying with people who steal things off porches, so it’s hard to say). He certainly creeped us out. He also made a martyr out of tacky Santa, and reminded us how incredibly tacky some people can be.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

140 apartments on 7th

A packed crowd at Hawthorne Lane United Methodist Church heard Chris Branch of the Boulevard Company and Tony Miller of Miller Architecture deliver preliminary details of the planned development on 7th Street for the Roy White properties tonight. The highlights:
  • 140 one- and two-bedroom apartments.
  • 4 and one-third stories.
  • About 5,000 square feet of commercial space.
  • Between one and two parking spaces per bedroom.
  • No parking visible from the street.
  • No plans yet for the properties across 7th Street.
After the Branch/Miller presentation and some Q&A, they left and an open discussion started. Afterward we were to vote on whether we supported the project. I had to leave early, and I wasn't clear on what exactly we were supposed to vote on. I hope someone can fill me in. Branch said that their contract required them to submit their rezoning request by tomorrow. But the details we got tonight were too sparse, I think, for us to tell whether we favor the project or what conditions we might seek to impose. Clearly there will be further steps in this process.

My initial thoughts on the proposal was that it's a good start. The drawings looked handsome, and I like hidden parking. But 5,000 square feet of retail seems kind of small. I know the deed restrictions on most of the property require residential use, but I wonder if there isn't a way to get a little more retail at street level. Also, the size of the thing dwarfs the homes that border it, including the house at the corner of Clement and 7th and the houses on Clement and 8th streets. That's really huge for the people that live there. And 140 apartments? That seems like a lot.

What do you think?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Party time

Boulevard meeting site changed

Dana Inge writes:

The Boulevard Company will be making a presentation to the ECA at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 regarding their proposal for their 7th Street properties. At the present time, we know that they will present their proposal for the Krug Properties (Philosopher Stone to former Violin Shop), but they also have the Roy White properties under contract and they may address their plans for those parcels as well.

Due to the larger group attending, we are changing our meeting location this month to Hawthorne Lane United Methodist Church, 501 Hawthorne Lane, in the Joy Outlook classroom on the second floor of the educational wing (signs will direct you from the parking lot).

The Boulevard Company will be applying for a rezoning of the properties and the ECA will be writing a letter to City Council either in support or opposition, depending upon how the ECA members vote once the Boulevard Company has made all of their presentations to the ECA. We expect that this will be the first meeting where they present their intent for the properties. After the presentation and the Boulevard Company has left the meeting, we will discuss and vote on what the ECA will provide the Boulevard Company with respect to whether the community can support the proposed zoning change, what we would support, etc. The Boulevard Company would then have another presentation(s) to the Board at another board meeting(s) which would be more detailed plans of their proposed development. We will have a vote after each meeting on what we will convey to the developer in terms of support, opposition and direction of what we would support if such is different from what the developer presents at the meeting.

We need everyone's participation at this meeting and we need everyone to get the word out in the community about this meeting. This is likely to be a sizable development and one which will have a long term impact on the residents of Elizabeth. All Elizabeth residents are invited and all ECA members present at the meeting will have a vote on how we will respond to this proposed rezoning.